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Orange juice, vodka and grenadine layer the colors of a sunrise in the vibrant Vodka Sunrise! Mix up this cocktail to impress.

Vodka sunrise

Need an easy vodka cocktail that looks impressive? Try the Vodka Sunrise! This layered cocktail looks like a gradient of a summer sunrise, and it’s ideal for brunch or a laid back afternoon drink. The way that orange juice fades into bright pink grenadine is truly magical. All you need are three ingredients for this spin on the classic Tequila Sunrise. Ready to get started?

What’s in a Vodka Sunrise?

The Vodka Sunrise is a layered cocktail made with vodka, orange juice, and grenadine. It’s a spin on the classic Tequila Sunrise, though it’s also technically a Screwdriver with Grenadine. While the earliest version of that drink was invented in the 1930’s, the modern spin was born in the 1970’s at a hotel in California. The vodka spin came along later, as vodka spins on the classics inevitably do. Here’s what’s in a Vodka Sunrise:

  • Vodka
  • Orange juice
  • Grenadine syrup
Vodka sunrise

How to make the layers in Vodka Sunrise

The layers in a Vodka Sunrise are so easy to make, because they form naturally! Some layered cocktails require carefully floating a liquid on top. But the Sunrise family of drinks are easy because the grenadine is more dense than orange juice and naturally floats to the bottom. Here’s what to do:

  • Mix: Stir together the tequila and orange juice with ice in a highball glass.
  • Pour: Pour in the grenadine and it settles to the bottom.

Purchased vs homemade grenadine

Grenadine syrup is a pomegranate-flavored bar syrup that’s used in many popular cocktails and mocktails. Purchased grenadine is a beautiful bright red color, but it often has artificial colors or flavors. So another option is homemade! Here’s what to know about grenadine:

  • Try homemade grenadine. DIY Grenadine Syrup tastes incredible! Using pomegranate seeds you can get a lovely bright color, though it won’t be quite as bright as the artificial kind.
  • There are all natural grenadines on the market. But keep in mind, the color will not be as bright. Most all natural grenadine is more of a muddy dark red color.
  • Or, try the artificially colored one! If you can handle red dyes and use it only occasionally, it’s a decent option and makes the best bright color.
Vodka sunrise

There are several related drinks to a Vodka Sunrise: the most well-known of course is the original Tequila Sunrise! Here are a few related drinks:

When to serve a Vodka Sunrise

The Vodka Sunrise cocktail is sweet and fruity, perfect for summer occasions or brunch. It’s perfect for sipping as a:

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Vodka sunrise

Vodka Sunrise

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


Orange juice, vodka and grenadine layer the colors of a sunrise in the vibrant Vodka Sunrise! Mix up this cocktail to impress.


  • 2 ounces* vodka
  • 4 ounces orange juice
  • ¾ ounce grenadine syrup (purchased or homemade)
  • Ice, for serving
  • For the garnish: Cocktail cherry, orange slice


  1. Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour in the vodka and orange juice and stir.
  2. Pour the grenadine into center of the drink and it will sink to the bottom. Stir gently for the sunrise gradient effect.
  3. Garnish with an orange slice and cocktail cherry.


*To convert to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktials
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Vodka sunrise

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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